"A Broken Record" - Life Expectancy?

Do you think there will ever be a time when the phrase “You sound like a broken record” will ever be dead or the underlying meaning of it forgotten?

It will last until a phrase that means the same thing takes its place. But what sounds like a broken record? Nothing comes to mind, so the phrase may be with us for quite a bit.

It’s already on its way out. The generation growing up now doesn’t have turntables and records. Saying to a child of 13, “You sound like a broken record” is like my dad saying to me at that age (20 years ago), “You two (my friend and I) look like the Bobsey Twins”. I had no idea who the hell he was talking about.

It’s not quite dead, but since “broken record” is usually said to children, the phrase is gasping for its last breath as we speak.

It doesn’t matter that the technology is no longer common; if the phrase has a use, it will remain.

For instance, people use “Try another tack” and know nothing about sailing. There are also “dead ringer,” “flash in the pan,” “room to swing a cat,” “three sheets to the wind,” “read the riot act,” “sell yourself short,” “carrot and stick,” etc., whose original meaning is very often not known to the person using the phrase.

“dead ringer” is from horse racing – “dead” means “exact”; “flash in the pan,” from muskets; “room to swing a cat” refers to a whip; “three sheets to the wind” is from sailing and indicates the ropes used to adjust the sails (though there are no ropes on a ship :wink: ); “read the riot act” refers to an actual law; “sell yourself short” involves trading stock; “carrot and stick” is a method of training a mule

Fir point, but then how long before it’s meaning as idiom remains but the unerlying meaning of it is lost? How long before the Straight Dope gets a question asking whhere the phrase “Like a borken record” comes from?5 years? 25? 100? Never?

Well, my daughter’s generation (she’s 19) knows what a record is, and I suspect younger people do, too (vinyl is still being made, after all). So it would have to be after records are no longer manufactured, and after people her age (and younger) are dead.

Turntables aren’t as widespread as they used to be, but rap and techno certainly keep turntables in the popular culture. Heck, a few years ago it seemed like there was a law requiring all rock bands to have a DJ scratching records, there were so many of them.

And I was just reading about this camp where kids can go to learn how to DJ.

I am puzzled by what appears to be an extremely narrow use of the word “record”. A record is a recording of something, physical format doesn’t matter. Note that “on the record”, “for the record”, etc. don’t refer to vinyl.

Ergo, Grammys for Best Record and such don’t exclude works not recorded on vinyl.

Since a CD, etc. can be broken (skip around and such), people will still understand “sounds like a broken record” for the forseeable future.

(Also: An album is a compilation of things: songs, pictures, etc. A video can be recorded on tape or DVD. Etc.)

“The whole nine yards” as a phrase is only 50-60 years old and we already can’t agree on what it originally meant. (New meaning: “An amazingly crappy movie.”) It’s obvious that the original meaning of slang doesn’t prevent its widespread use.

Well, no, not necessarily. Scratched CDs or DVDs don’t skip the way broken records do; they usually just cut out totally or skip some short section. Damaged tape when repaired will simply be missing what information was on the sections removed. And written records don’t “sound” like anything, damaged or not. Knowledge of the unique repetitive nature of a broken vinyl record is needed to understand WHY the phrase is used to describe people who repeat the same information multiple times.

That’s not to say that people won’t still use it despite ignorance of its orgins. However, unlike “the whole nine yards” it’s safe to say that the history of the phrase is well-documented enough to survive for anyone curious to look it up.

“You’re looping” may eventually replace “you sound like a broken record.” Like Jenaroph said, a stuck CD repeats several times a second, but when streaming audio “loops”, it plays the same 5 seconds again and again, while I frantically click on everything in sight and try to remember what worked last time it happened. :smack: :eek: :smack: :eek: :smack: :eek: :smack:

I dunno. I’ve heard CD skip that way.

What I was wondering (I think I asked it here somewhere) is how long the “skkkrrriiiiittt” needle-being-ripped-off-record sound to indicate an abrupt end of something will be around. CD’s definatly don’t sound like that.

Well, considering we’re still “dialing” our push-button phones…

Leela: Remember, Professor, Bender is Santa, so we don’t need to hurt him, right?
Professor: Yes, yes, yes! You sound like a broken MP3.

This reminds me of a story my friend, a third grade teacher, told me last year. She had some old children’s records she wanted to play for the kids - thinking many of these children had never seen vinyl records played before. The records were very brightly colored and were just sitting in the library for years. When she wheeled in a turntable a couple of kids said “oh cooool! we’re going to DJ” and made record scratching noises.

I think what kids have a hard time understanding is the notion that at one time records were meant to be listened to and not interfered with during their replay, and that hearing the same bit over and over again was the last thing you wanted.

I’ve definitely heard CDs going into loop mode, especially car CD players.

It’s also common on PCs, but that is usually a bottleneck problem at the sound card end. (So it can happen regardless of audio source.)

CDs do skip, but differently. A broken record repeats a clip of maybe a second, a second, a second, a second, a second scraaaaaatch sorry… of maybe a second or so, whereas a CD either cuts out entirely or repeats after a tiny fraction of secon,con,con,con,con,cond.

That was really fun.